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SALT LAKE CITY — Two Utah brothers who claimed to be legitimate tax preparers were sentenced Tuesday to 24 months in prison each for conspiracy to file false claims, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
Alma and Denver Barlow, formerly of Hildale, Utah, filed over 700 false tax returns for themselves and for clients between 2009 and 2014, according to a Justice Department news release. The brothers ultimately claimed over $9.7 million in false refunds from the IRS.
“In furtherance of their conspiracy, the defendants added false entries to tax returns to trigger the Earned Income Tax Credit or added false figures for federal income tax withholdings, Form 1099-OID income tax withholdings, or Schedule C business expenses in order to fraudulently increase the amount of the claimed refunds,” the release says.
U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart also ordered the brothers to serve three years of supervised release and pay over $5.3 million in restitution to the United States.
According to their indictment, the brothers operated their fraudulent tax preparation service out of a Hildale business they co-owned called Most Wanted Jeans. They charged clients about 10% of their refund to prepare their taxes.
A third brother, Trenton Barlow, was indicted in 2017, but the charges against him were later dropped. The Salt Lake Tribune reported in 2017 that the brothers are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and that they likely gave much of the refund money to the church.